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November 25, 2013

Beef Ribs

Okay. Chilly weather is upon us. It’s time to get hearty in the kitchen and break out the “stick to your ribs” ribs!

Here is a bangin’ recipe for beef ribs that had all the guests at my sister Lynn’s Autumn dinner party, held at the Widow McCrea B&B in Frenchtown, NJ, begging for more!

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image: ifood.tv

THE RUB
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Emeril’s “essence” seasoning
2 Tablespoons chipotle powder
1 Tablespoon ancho powder
2 Tablespoons garlic powder, and 2 Tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

THE SAUCE
1/2 can tomato sauce, smaller size
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup honey
Just enough water to loosen

Cook over a low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until a bit reduced, maybe an hour.

THE BEEF
Go to a good butcher and get meat beef ribs from local cattle. It’s worth it.

THE PROCEDURE
Wash and pat dry the racks of ribs. The night before, rub racks generously with the spice rub. Refrigerate overnight wrapped tightly in Saran wrap.

Prior to cooking, wrap the ribs in foil, leaving the Saran wrap intact. Place ribs on cooking trays.

Set oven to 225°. Cook low and slow for six hours.

Finish on the grill, minus wrappings, basting with the sauce, serving extra on the side.

Per serving size, two big beef ribs per guest should be ample. We had bacon cornbread and braised kale to round out a truly delicious meal. Be ready for raves!

Thanks to sister Lynn for this recipe!

September 17, 2013

Caramel Cake

This special Caramel Cake will impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth! For the link to the recipe, click on the image below.

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photo by Jennifer Davick

recipe by southernliving.com

August 8, 2013

Maine Chili Lobster: LobFest 2013 Finalist

Gerald Huang grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to Montreal and Toronto before finally settling in the New York and New Jersey area. His love of traveling and adventure brought him to this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his recipe for Maine Chili Lobster.

Gerald_0422Gerald Huang  prepares his Maine Chili Lobster for the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest.

The origin of this recipe was Gerald’s visit to Singapore for the first time this year. He was impressed by their unofficial national dish: Singapore Chili Crab. Upon returning to New York, he created his own version using lobster. “I thought, this is a delicious dish with crab. I’ll bet it would be even better with lobster,” he said.

Gerald was encouraged to enter the Seafood Cooking Contest by his girlfriend, Mimi, when their friends were planning a trip to the Maine Lobster Festival together. All his supporters, including 3 adorable dogs, were just as excited about the contest as he was. They were spotted in the audience wearing orange “Team Gerald” T-shirts with big lobsters on front.

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Gerald’s Table was set with burnt orange placemats, and he served his dish on white square plates. He served an accompanying local white wine, and created a refreshing Thai drink which was spiced with a touch of Old Bay Seasoning. He rounded out his meal with French bread and white rice.

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A Senior Vice President of an IT solutions company on Wall Street, with many leading global banks as clients, Gerald frequently travels to Asia and Europe. He loves dining out wherever great food can be found around the world. On his many journeys, he picks up food ideas, and when he returns home, he likes to reinterpret or adapt those findings.

“The sauce is slightly sweet and a bit spicy, and this dish blends the influences of Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. The lemongrass add a nice flavor. You can make this dish as spicy or as sweet as you want, with a little tweaking of the ingredients.”

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We hope Gerald’s worldly travels continue to make their way into his kitchen, where he makes delicious creations like this Maine Chili Lobster.

Maine Chili Lobster
Gerald Huang, Jersey City, New Jersey

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2 2-pound Maine lobsters
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Chili Paste:
3 Tablespoons ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 small red chili peppers, minced
1 Tablespoon shrimp paste
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon chili sauce
1 Tablespoon bean sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups stock
1 stalk lemongrass (optional)

Finishing:
4 Tablespoons butter
1 stalk scallion, 1 1/2 inch cut
2 medium eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Put all the chili paste ingredients into a small food processor to create a paste. Sauté the chili paste in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the other sauce ingredients into the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Purée the sauce in a blender.

Steam the lobsters by putting them in a pot with 1 1/2 inches of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the claws and legs from lobsters. Crack them slightly and set aside.

Cut lobsters lengthwise and clean them.

In a sauté pan, cook the lobster bodies in butter, meat side down, for 5 minutes. Turn the lobster bodies over and sauté for 3 more minutes. Remove the lobster bodies to warm plates. Put the claws and legs into the pan and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the scallions and sauce into the pan with lobster parts and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from heat. Quickly stir in the beaten eggs to thicken the sauce. Add the chopped cilantro into the sauce and serve on the plates with the lobster bodies. Serve with Italian bread or white rice.

Serves 4.

August 7, 2013

Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole: LobFest 2013 Finalist

Justin Libby was a finalist in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his recipe for Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole. He shared the following information with us about his life.

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Justin Libby interviewed by Allison Fishman Task, one of the contest judges and host of Yahoo! Blue Ribbon Hunter.

Captain Justin “Buzz” Libby is a 33 year old, lifelong, 3rd generation groundfisherman/scalloper/shrimper from Port Clyde. His boat, the 50-foot dragger the F/V Capt’n Lee, is based out of Port Clyde and is a bit of a local celebrity. A couple years ago, Kenny Chesney shot a country music video on it. It was also the star of the local movie, “The Fish Belong to the People.”

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Justin is one of the founders and owners of Port Clyde Fresh Catch, a fish processing and retail store that sells sustainably caught seafood and supports local fishermen. Port Clyde Fresh Catch is an outlet for customers to buy “net-to-plate” seafood. Seafood is caught sustainably, and processed and sold locally so you get only the freshest, highest quality product from the Gulf of Maine.

A member of the Port Clyde Groundfish Sector/Midcoast Fishermen’s Association, Justin is also working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to bring underutilized fish species that are considered healthy stocks in the Gulf of Maine to the table. His efforts include educating people on the importance of having a healthy fishery in Maine through the “Out of the Blue” campaign.

Buzz says his love of cooking is more of a love of eating. He enjoys shows, and his girlfriend urged him to enter this year’s cooking contest.

The origins for his Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole recipe came from a Christmas dinner he had as a child. His father was always away fishing, so it was usually him, his mom, and his sister at home together much of the time. Buzz would cook this and bring it to family events, and it became his casserole. The lobster meat was his personal touch that he added to the recipe in recent years, but the dish originally contained no seafood. He says his family and friends love this casserole. For the contest, he served it with an unusually delightful kelp salad, which he harvested himself, of course.

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So we had to ask. Where did he get the name “Buzzy?”

“Well, I was always buzzing around with my matchbox cars as a kid. Always active, always on the move.” Looks like he’s keeping the momentum going. There’s no sign of slowing this hardworking Mainer down, unless it’s long enough to stop by the kitchen to make his signature dish.

Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole
Justin Libby, Port Clyde, ME

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4 cups cubed potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pint sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound diced lobster meat
1 large onion, diced
1 stick butter
1 Tablespoon salt
Box of corn flakes

Preheat oven to 400º. Prepare potatoes, lobster meat, and onion. Mix all ingredients (leave 1/2 stick of butter and cornflakes out) in a large mixing bowl with 1/2 stick of melted butter. After mixing, put in a large casserole dish.

Crunch up cornflakes and put a decent layer over the top. Melt other 1/2 stick of butter and drizzle over cornflakes. Cover with tin foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Take tin foil off and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve.

Yields about 6 servings.

August 6, 2013

Maine Lobster Mac-N-Cheese: LobFest 2013 Finalist

John Ruppert of Brunswick says he was born into a cooking family and he does a lot of home cooking. His recipe for Maine Lobster Mac-N-Cheese made him a finalist in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest.

“My first press exposure was when I was just a few months old. My picture was in the local Endicott, NY, newspaper with my mother as she prepared her winning recipe for the New York Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. After those few minutes in the limelight, I always seemed to be hanging around the kitchen.”

John-Louise_0248John Ruppert is interviewed by event emcee Louise MacLellan-Ruf

John says he entered the contest this year with some coaxing from his daughter, Jessica, who was a princess in last year’s Sea Goddess contest. In addition to running his own insurance/real estate investment firm, John enjoys spending time in the kitchen. He comes to the Maine Lobster Festival every year.

“I enjoy all types of food. I am also an avid boater, having cruised the Maine Coast for many years. While going through high school and college, I used to lobster in a small boat during the summertime. So it was natural for me to select an easy to prepare lobster dish to enter in the contest.”

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John wanted to create a recipe that would be simple to prepare on the typical galley stove of a small boat- with no oven and easy to obtain ingredients. “My Maine Lobster Mac-n- Cheese can be made in the smallest of boat galleys after a quick trip to your local lobster pound,” he said. In fact, when the power went out a couple times during the contest, some of the contestants got a mild case of nerves. Not John, who was able to remain as cool as a cucumber. He came prepared with his own gas burner stove and kept right on cooking.

“I’ve tried this recipe out on friends and neighbors. They loved it, and their feedback has helped me to make just the right adjustments,” John said. “This is a quick, hearty and tasty meal which is perfect after a long day of sailing.”

John picked up his lobsters at a lobster pound in Bath for use in the contest. His table was set with lobster print napkins, and he served his mac-n-cheese in whimsical white fish bowls. A complementary salad with Maine blueberries and a blueberry vinaigrette dressing rounded out the meal.

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John says that a little known fact about himself is that he is also an avid space enthusiast, and he got to personally meet and talk with Jim Lovell, the commander of the doomed Apollo 13 flight to the moon.

We recommend you try John’s recipe for Maine Lobster Mac-N-Cheese for yourself. You’ll probably say it’s out of this world!

Maine Lobster Mac-N-Cheese
John Ruppert, Brunswick, ME

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2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 pound Maine lobster meat, cooked
1 pound cellentani pasta (or similar spiral-shaped pasta)
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ Tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces Swiss cheese
4 Tablespoon Panko bread crumbs
1 cup light cream
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
4 Tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat medium sauce pan with olive oil on medium heat. Add bell peppers, shallots, and crushed garlic and sauté until peppers are soft, about 4 minutes.

Add in lobster to sauce pan and sauté for 2 minutes, then set pan aside. Start large pot of water to cook cellentani; wait for it to boil.

In large sauce pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter. Slowly add flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a smooth roux is formed.

Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth into the roux, and then stir in wine. Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Begin cooking the pasta per directions on the box.

Now add the two cheeses to the vegetable broth and wine mixture, stir to mix and help melt cheeses. Add white pepper, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper into cheese sauce. Stir occasionally as the pasta is cooking.

In a separate small sauce pan on medium-high, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter, then add the Panko crumbs. Stir constantly until the Panko is a golden brown color (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat when complete.

Combine lobster meat mixture with the cheese sauce, and stir to combine well, keep heated on low heat until noodles are done. Drain noodles when complete.

Slowly add noodles into the cheese/lobster mixture, stirring to mix well. Depending on the exact type of noodle, you will add between ¾ to the full amount of cooked noodles. Ensure that there is plenty of sauce to coat the noodles well.

Serve in shallow bowls, topping with 1 Tablespoon of chives, 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, and 1 Tablespoon of fresh chives.

Yields 4 hearty servings.

August 5, 2013

Owls Head Lobster Étouffée: LobFest 2013 Finalist

Adam Marcus from Owls Head took 2nd place honors in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his Cajun inspired recipe for Owls Head Lobster Étouffée. Inspiration for his dish came from his youth, growing up in New Orleans and going to school in the south. The real estate developer says love of food, family, and southern roots all come into play when being creative in the kitchen.

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Of his culinary background, Adam found necessity to be the mother of invention. “I started cooking in college in Austin, Texas, because the food was so bad. The first dish I cooked was my Mom’s Rock Cornish Game Hens. That first experience of cooking for myself and friends taught me that not only did I like eating good food, I also enjoyed the accolades it brought from friends. Cooking reminded me of home and my loving family which made me less homesick. This new common interest with my Mom is one I still share with her as she approaches her 82nd birthday on August 14th. We talk food and recipes often.”

While in college, Adam discovered Whole Foods. “If you can believe it, back when I was in college there was only one Whole Foods company in the country. Lucky for me it was in Austin.” This started his affair with fresh local produce and ingredients. He now says Whole Foods has gotten too big and he prefers farmers’ markets and knowing where all his foods come from with an emphasis on fresh and local. After college, Adam returned to his home town of New Orleans and watched the development of chefs like Emeril, Paul Prudhomme, and John Harris. He enjoyed eating the inventive and classic food of New Orleans and evolving his own repertoire of regional dishes.

Sharing recipes and family meals has extended to his own family, as Adam now shares this love with his daughter and two sons. When they were growing up, he took on all the family cooking. He introduced them to favorites like soft shell crabs, shrimp creole, herb-stuffed roast chicken, and crawfish étouffée. Adam’s gumbo is a family tradition at noon on Christmas Day.

One night last year at the bar in Primo, Adam and a friend struck up a conversation with a local lobsterman and his wife about cooking lobster in non-traditional dishes. He became inspired. Acadian/Cajun and Creole dishes of southern Louisiana like étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, etc. use shellfish like crawfish, oysters, shrimp, and crab. He decided to apply his knowledge of regional Louisiana culture and mix in his love of Maine to create a stand-by favorite – étouffée, using Maine lobster and corn instead of crawfish.
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Adam sourced produce for his special dish from the Rockland Farmers’ Market, items like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn. Oil was sourced locally from Fiore, and his lobsters were harvested from Owls Head water at 7am on the morning of the contest. His table was set to evoke the setting of the Maine coast, with a candle centerpiece and surrounding rocks creating a replica of Owls Head Light.
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Try your hand at a taste of fine Southern cooking with Adam Marcus’s Owls Head Lobster Étouffée!

Owl’s Head Lobster Étouffée
Adam Marcus, Owls Head, ME
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1 pound of cooked lobster meat (tail and claw)

Cook according to favorite method and chop claws and tails into bite-sized pieces. Set aside while you prepare the étouffée .

1 large onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced

Heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in heavy bottomed stockpot. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, sauté for 3 minutes, then cover the pot and sweat the vegetables at a med-low simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and replace cover. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until onions seem almost melted but not browned.

½ stick unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon flour
Pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Add ½ stick of butter to the cooked vegetable mixture. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon flour over mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add pinch of cayenne if you want a hint of spice. Sauté, stirring constantly over med-low heat for 3 minutes.

½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 cups seafood stock (homemade or store bought)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound lobster meat
Salt and pepper to taste

Add cherry tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in seafood stock until well blended with flour and butter mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, corn, and lobster meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook étouffée, stirring occasionally until heated through, 3-4 minutes.

2 green onions  – discard white parts, slice thinly
Crusty bread or rolls
Olive oil

Ladle the étouffée into bowls, sprinkle each bowl with thinly sliced green onion, and serve with olive oil toasted bread.

Serves 4 as a main or 8 as an appetizer.  

August 3, 2013

Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni: LobsterFest 2013 Winner

Tyrrell Hunter was content to rest on the laurels of her big win last year at the 2012 Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest… on one condition. Her husband was to enter the contest this year instead. Her 1st prize entry last year was a Seafood Hash with Lobster Hollandaise.

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Tyrrell was encouraging her husband to enter this year’s contest with his idea for a Deconstructed Caesar Salad recipe featuring Maine seafood. When that recipe “went south,” Tyrrell decided she had to jump back into the kitchen and get cooking once again. We’ll bet she’s glad she did! This year, Tyrrell’s recipe for Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni took top honors.

Tyrrell paired her special dish with a delightful side salad with nasturtiums, perfectly toasted garlic bread, and complementary prosecco. Her table setting created the image of summertime in Maine complete with round straw and sunny yellow place mats, blue plates and napkins, and blue vases of flowers.

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“I’d made this recipe for years at home, using different ingredients. I thought it would be the perfect recipe to change up using some seafood like lobster and scallops,” said Tyrrell. The special flavors of Maine were complemented with sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and a heavenly bechamel sauce she made with the lobster bodies and shells.

Tyrrell had this to say of her culinary background: “Both my parents were wonderful cooks who introduced me to a broad variety of foods. I remember cooking at an early age, maybe 7 or 8 years old, baking pies with my grandmother for various holidays. By the time I was 12, I was selling my baked goods during the summer on an island in Maine. While my friends made money babysitting, I made money baking. As an adult, I have hosted most holidays and celebrations and held too many dinner parties to count.” Tyrrell has also worked to organize and cook gourmet dinners at her church for fundraising efforts.

As a diversion from closing her medical equipment business in 2011, she entered the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest for the first time. She was a finalist that year with her recipe for Salmon with Lobster Mousse. 2012 was a great year for Tyrrell. In addition to her Lobster Festival win, she was also crowned the winner of the Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival Cooking Contest with her entry for Bûche de Pumpkin with Pumpkin Mousse, Caramel Buttercream Frosting (real buttercream!), garnished with Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle, which she made look like leaves surrounding the “log.”

What’s next for Tyrrell? We hope to see her at next year’s competition as she tries for a three-peat! She said, “Numerous friends have encouraged me to open a restaurant. However, it just never happened. Given a different life path, I may have become a professional chef. Currently, my life consists of enjoying time with my children and grandkids, working full-time, as fortunately I found a decent job after our business closed, and cooking for family and friends for holidays, events, and occasional cooking competitions. Someday, maybe when I retire, I hope to write a cookbook.”

When Tyrrell writes her cookbook, we hope she includes this amazing, grand prize winning recipe for her Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni!

Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni
Tyrrell Hunter, Brunswick, ME

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Filling:

4 each 1 1/4 pound Maine lobsters, cold water cooked method (see below), shucked. After removing the tail vein, cut the tail and claws into 1/2- inch chunks, mix with knuckle and body meat. Save the shells and bodies of two lobsters but discard the tamale. Refrigerate all until needed.
1 pound Large Sea Scallops – with muscle removed
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (need total of 10 Tablespoons for complete recipe)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, washed, dried and chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, washed, dried and chopped
1 Tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes – packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

Sauce:

Lobster Shells & Bodies
3½ cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (divided in 2 each ½ cups)
½ cup Pecorino cheese, grated (if you can’t find Pecorino, you can increase the Parmesan by ½ cup)

Pasta Shells

12 each No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

Early preparation – even a day or two in advance:

Lobsters – Next time you cook lobsters, try starting them in cold, heavily salted water (about 2 Tablespoons for large pot). Turn on heat to high (we use a gas turkey fryer outside) and bring to a rolling boil. This should take about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many lobsters are in the pot. For this recipe, you want to take 4 lobsters out as soon as they come to a boil and plunge them into cold water to stop their cooking. You want the lobsters under-cooked because the meat will finish cooking in the Cannelloni. (We cook other lobsters to eat that evening by boiling those lobsters just two more minutes for a traditional boiled lobster dinner. We use the partially cooked lobster in a variety of recipes, such as this Cannelloni recipe, over the next few days. The beauty of the cold water method is the meat is very tender because all the lobsters cook at the same temperature and the lobsters weren’t shocked entering hot water.)

About 1 ½ to 2 hours prior to serving:

To Make the Lobster Sauce:

Thoroughly strain any liquid that may have accumulated from the lobster shells. In a large saucepan on medium-low heat, steep the milk and cream with the lobster shells (without tamale!) for ½ hour, stirring a few times. Strain, reserve the milk mixture, and set aside. Discard the shells and bodies.

In the same large saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter; then stir in ½ cup flour. Stir for 1 minute to slightly cook the flour. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Whisk in the hot milk/cream mixture and whisk for 5-7 minutes until the sauce is thick and smooth. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan and set aside off heat.

To Prepare the Pasta Shells:

Soak the no-bake lasagna noodles in a large bowl of warm water for about 8-10 minutes or just until they are pliable so you can bend them easily. Take out of water, pat dry, cut each noodle to 5½-6 inches long, then stack between paper towels.

To Make the Filling: (Preheat oven to 375º while making the stuffing)

In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt one Tablespoon of butter with one Tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops and onions to the pan and quickly cook the scallops about 20-30 seconds per side; add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Cut the scallops into quarters or eights (about the same size of the lobster tail cut-up pieces; the scallops will not be completely cooked at this point). Stir in the lobster meat, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and sauté for one minute to combine flavors. Drain off any accumulated water/juices. To 2/3 cup of Lobster Sauce, stir in the anchovy paste. Then add this sauce mixture to the seafood and mix gently to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Take pan off heat.

To Assemble and Bake Cannelloni:

In a 13 x 9-inch pan, pour 1½ cups of the sauce and spread to cover the bottom of the pan. Put ½ cup of the filling mixture across the short side (about 3 ½ inches) of a pasta shell and roll up, putting it seam-side down in the pan. Repeat with the other shells, leaving a little space between the shells. Pour the remaining sauce over all the shells, covering completely, and sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup Parmesan and ½ cup Pecorino. Dot with an additional Tablespoon of butter cut into small pieces. Cover pan and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. If needed, lightly golden brown under the broiler just before serving. Suggest serving with a crisp salad and toasted garlic bread.

(Can be prepared in advance of final baking and refrigerated for up to 24 hours; let sit at room temperature for ½ hour, then bake for 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered, lightly brown under broiler if needed.)

Enjoy!

Serves 5-6.

August 2, 2013

Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2013

Another delicious time was had by all again this year at the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. Held Friday morning at the North Entertainment Tent on the Lobster Festival grounds, the event drew a record crowd. Despite the rain, the heat was on as this year’s five finalists entertained festival-goers and impressed judges with their unique seafood recipes.

This event is always a lively, fun time in great part to outstanding emcee Louise MacLellan-Ruf and volunteer Celia Crie Knight. Audience participation is encouraged as lobster lore is discussed and there is an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists as they prepare their dishes.

The five amateur chefs who shared their culinary talents this year were John Ruppert, Brunswick, ME; Adam B. Marcus, Owls Head, ME; Tyrrell Hunter, Brunswick, ME; Justin Libby, Tenants Harbor, ME; and Gerald Huang, Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Contestants and Judges (L to R): Adam B. Marcus, Allison Fishman Task, Lynn Archer, Melanie Beckett Hyatt, Louise MacLellan-Ruf, Gerald Huang, Tyrrell Hunter, John Ruppert, and Justin Libby.

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L to R: Allison Fishman Task, Tyrrell Hunter, Lynn Archer, Melanie Beckett Hyatt, Louise MacLellan-Ruf

This year’s winner (and her second year in a row taking the top prize), was Tyrrell Hunter for her Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni.

Judges were Lynn Archer, owner and chef at Brass Compass Cafe and Archer’s on the Pier in Rockland; Allison Fishman Task, host of the Yahoo! Original Program, Blue Ribbon Hunter; and Melanie Beckett Hyatt, editor of Maine Food & Lifestyle.

Check our blog in the coming days for complete stories, recipes, and images! As always, we had a great time covering and helping promote this special event!

July 30, 2013

Lobster Festival Cooking Contest 2013

One of the main events of the 66th Annual Maine Lobster Festival is happening this Friday, August 2. The Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest begins at 9am in the North Entertainment Tent on the festival grounds in Harbor Park, Rockland. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m., with prizes announced and awarded around 12:30 p.m.

Due to some oversight, this event was not published in the supplement sent out this year in the Free Press or The Courier Publication. So we want to be sure this wonderful contest gets all the publicity it deserves! Information about the Cooking Contest is available on the Maine Lobster Festival website.

Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine is always a big supporter of this great event, posting all the contestants’  bios, recipes, and photos here on our Plating Up blog as well as on our Facebook page. See our link for past years’ coverage HERE.

Terrell_369112012 First Place Winner, Tyrrell Hunter, plating up her Seafood Hash with Lobster Hollandaise. Guess what? She’s returning this year to compete again!

First prize is $200, second prize is $175, and third prize is $150. The contest audience will have the opportunity to sample the prepared recipes in the cooking area and pick up the contestants’ recipes after the awards are presented. It is truly a fun gathering, showcasing wonderful amateur food talent from all over the country cooking up amazing dishes using Maine seafood.

Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine is always a big supporter of this great event, posting all the contestants’  bios, recipes, and photos here on our blog as well as on our Facebook page. See our link for past years’ coverage HERE.

We hope to see you at this year’s Seafood Cooking Contest!

July 22, 2013

Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Smoked Salmon

Summer gatherings are made special occasions when everyone shares their favorite side dishes. Potato salad is always expected to make an appearance. Instead of the usual, why not make yours a bit outstanding with this recipe for Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Smoked Salmon? Surely a crowd pleaser!

For a link to the recipe for Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Smoked Salmon, click on the image below.

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image and recipe from culinate.com

July 2, 2013

Grilled Peach BBQ Chicken Wings

Make your barbecue a special one with the addition of this recipe for Grilled Peach BBQ Chicken Wings, from tasteofhome.com

For full details, click on the image below!

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image and recipe by tasteofhome.com

June 24, 2013

Sparkling Pineapple Soup

The humidity is on the rise here in the Northeast. Cool things off with this chilled summer menu item, a Sparkling Pineapple Soup.  For a link to this quick and easy recipe, and many other summer soup recipes from nytimes.com, click on the image below.

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recipe and image from nytimes.com

June 13, 2013

Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest: Calling All Amateur Chefs

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FOR  IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 6, 2013

CONTACT:  Celia Knight 207-542-1192

Call for Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest

ROCKLAND — Amateur chefs are invited to sign up for the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. The contest is part of the 66th annual festival, which will be held July 31 through Aug. 4 at Harbor Park along the city’s waterfront.

Amateur chefs age 18 and older are welcome to compete for more than $500 in prize money during this popular event. A panel will pick five contestants and their recipes to participate in the contest. Selection is based on creativity, suitability of the seafood to the recipe and simplicity. The recipes can be any dish and must contain seafood found in Maine waters.

The contest will begin at 9 a.m., Friday, Aug. 2, in the North Entertainment Tent on the festival grounds. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m., with prizes announced and awarded around 12:30 p.m. First prize is $200, second prize is $175, and third prize is $150.  Lead Sponsor for this event is Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegar.
The contest audience will have the opportunity to sample the prepared recipes in the cooking area and pick up the contestants’ recipes after the awards are presented.

For additional contest details and to download an application form, visit www.MaineLobsterFestival.com or contact Celia Knight by e-mail at celia@knightmarineservice.com or call 207-542-1192.

Applications will be considered until July 13. Selected contestants will be notified by July 20.

May 23, 2013

Potato Nests with Sour Cream and Smoked Salmon

Just a small amount of smoked salmon is needed to highlight the flavor in the creamy filling of these bite-sized potato nests.

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Potato Nests with Sour Cream and Smoked Salmon
image and recipes from allyou.com

1 1/2 pounds large russet potatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced smoked salmon (2 ounces), plus a small amount for garnish
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
Small parsley leaves, optional

In a large saucepan, bring unpeeled potatoes and enough cold water to cover to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer potatoes until just cooked, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, let cool and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until cold.

Meanwhile, pulse smoked salmon and lemon peel in a food processor, scraping down bowl. Add sour cream and process until combined. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease 32 mini-muffin-tin cups. Peel and coarsely grate potatoes. Gently toss potatoes with salt and pepper in a bowl. Place about 1 heaping Tbsp. potato mixture into each muffin cup and press against bottom and up sides, allowing some mixture to extend above rim. (Do not spread mixture too thin or holes will form while baking.)

Bake potato nests until edges are dark golden, about 25 minutes. Cool nests in pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove nests from pans and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to set. (Nests may be made up to 4 hours ahead; leave at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 375°. Place potato nests on a clean, large baking sheet and bake until heated through and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer potato nests to a platter. Using a small spoon, dollop about 1 tsp. sour cream mixture into each potato nest and top each with a tiny strip of smoked salmon and, if desired, a parsley leaf. Serve right away.

Yields 8 servings.

May 11, 2013

Simple Sangria

The name is derived from sangre, Spanish for “blood,” and this ruby-red concoction is truly the essence of any proper fiesta. Stud your pitcher with whatever fruits look good at the market, making sure to load up on sangria’s signature citrus. We love Merlot or Shiraz, but you can create a lighter punch with a crisp white or rosé. No need to spend a bundle — an inexpensive bottle will do the trick. Salud!

This versatile wine and fruit mixture is perfect for a springtime brunch. Use red or white, depending on Mom’s wine preference.

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image: Tara Donne

Simple Sangria
delish.com

1 bottle (1.5 liters) red wine
1 1/2
cups fresh orange juice
1/3
cup brandy
1/3
cup sugar
2
(nectarines) pitted and cut into wedges
1
orange, cut in half then sliced
1
lemon, sliced
1
(Kirby (pickling) cucumber) sliced
3
cup(s) seltzer or club soda, chilled
Ice cubes

In 3- to 4-quart pitcher, combine wine, orange juice, brandy, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.

Stir in fruit and cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

To serve, stir seltzer into pitcher. Fill glasses with ice and pour sangria.

Serves 12.

May 5, 2013

Salsa Borracha

This is one awesome, authentic recipe. Your guests will go crazy over this salsa! For the complete recipe for Salsa Borracha, click on the image below.

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image and recipe courtesy of epicurious.com

May 1, 2013

Cinnamon & Honey Grilled Peaches

Fire up the grill and enjoy a taste of summer with this delicious recipe for Cinnamon & Honey Grilled Peaches.

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Cinnamon & Honey Grilled Peaches

genesmart.com

4 fresh peaches
1/2 cup fat free vanilla greek yogurt
Honey
Cinnamon to taste

Remove pit from peaches and slice in halves.

Set peaches cut side down on grill with low heat. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side, or until soft. Once removed from grill, top with a dollop of greek yogurt. Drizzle with honey and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Serve immediately for a healthy and satisfying dessert.

March 30, 2013

Ham with Riesling and Mustard

Slice this ham and serve with soft dinner rolls so guests can make mini sandwiches, then use the bone to make soup. Ask your butcher for a whole cured, smoked bone-in ham from the back leg of the pig. You can also buy a half ham and cut the recipe in half.

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Holiday Ham with Riesling and Mustard
image and recipe courtesy of bonappetit.com

1 14–16 pound whole cured, smoked bone-in ham
2 cups sweet (Auslese) Riesling, divided
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 sprigs thyme plus 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of kosher salt

Arrange rack in lowest level of oven; preheat to 300°. Leaving fat intact, remove outer rind from most of ham, leaving a band around the end of the shank bone. Score fat crosswise (do not cut into meat) on top of ham with parallel cuts spaced 1/2 inch apart. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Boil 1 cup Riesling and 7 cups water in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour into bottom of roasting pan. Bake ham, basting with pan juices occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham registers 110°, 2 1/2–3 hours.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs; cook, stirring often, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in the remaining 1 cup Riesling. Return to stove. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer mixture to a food processor. Add thyme leaves, mustard, honey, pepper, and salt. Process until well blended.

Remove pan from oven and increase heat to 350°. Using a pastry brush, spread Riesling mixture over ham. Return pan to oven and bake ham, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until internal temperature registers 135° and crust is golden brown, 15-30 minutes.

Transfer ham to a large platter. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Skim fat from pan juices, reheat, and pour juices into a medium pitcher; serve alongside.

Serves 16 (with leftovers).

March 29, 2013

Maple Sugar Time in Maine

Few things are sweeter than a little time spent in a sugar shack. Especially when the sap is running and the boil is on! Add to that a short stack of flapjacks and homemade sausage covered in amber syrup and there you have it…Maine Maple Syrup Season. 2013-03-24_10-07-15_216

It is tradition and it is precious family time as well. Given the sunny day, families were out in droves last Sunday across the state to enjoy the official start of it all during Maine Maple Sunday. They enjoyed breakfast, sometimes al fresco, or even better…in a haze of sweet smoke and steam.

images by Laura Cabot

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March 28, 2013

Slow-Roasted Andalusian-Style Lamb and Potatoes

Ask for the smallest lamb your butcher has (like those from New Zealand), or buy a 3 1/2-4-pound piece of a leg to make this incredible dish.

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image courtesy of bonappetit.com

Slow-Roasted Andalusian-Style Lamb and Potatoes
epicurious.com

4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons kosher salt plus more
4 fresh bay leaves, divided
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (6-8), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices, divided
7 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound bone-in leg of lamb
2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine garlic, thyme, and 2 Tablespoons salt in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, rub mixture until it resembles wet sand (larger pieces of garlic will remain); set aside. Crush bay leaves.

Combine half of potatoes with 1 Tablespoon oil and 1 crushed bay leaf in a large roasting pan; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out potatoes in a single layer.

Place lamb on top of potatoes and rub with garlic mixture. Layer tomatoes, onions, remaining 3 crushed bay leaves, and remaining potatoes around and up sides of lamb, seasoning with salt and pepper and drizzling with remaining 6 Tablespoons oil as you go (lamb will be nearly covered). Add wine to pan; cover tightly with foil.

Roast until lamb is very tender, 3-4 hours. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425°. Roast, turning lamb halfway through, until lamb is golden, 20-25 minutes longer. Let rest in roasting pan for 15-20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Lamb can be roasted 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat before continuing.

Pull meat from bones in large chunks; discard bones and fat. Place meat and vegetables on a platter. Skim fat from surface of cooking juices in pan. Spoon some cooking juices over lamb and vegetables and serve remainder alongside.

Serves 6-8.